I shall try to put together a list of the frequently asked questions to spare you the time in writing and me the time in answering the most common of questions. A little reading here will save you time and money.
How do I clean and care for my knife, bayonet, machete etc...
How do I clean and care for my knife, bayonet, machete sheath etc...
For the New Collectors Out ThereBuy a few books first.1.) Military Knives: A Reference Book2.) US Military Knives, Bayonets and Machetes Book III3.) US Military Knives, Bayonets and Machetes Book IV
4.) Bayonets from Janzens Notebook
From here you can decide on a specialty if you and and purchase further reference material. Early bayonets, 20th Century bayonets, Theatre Knives, etc are all specialties with material for them.Read some websites like mine www.usmilitaryknives.com and join the US Militaria Forum http://www.usmilitariaforum.com and read the Edged Weapons section.Visit gun shows and talk with folks at the shows about knives but beware of the stories they may tell, buy the knife not the story.I sell military knives on line at my web site. http://www.usmilitaryknives.com/knife_sale_page.htm I try to update it weekly with new items. Another site you can trust is John Gibson and Gary Ruleford at http://www.militaryfightingknives.com/ he updates every Sunday morning at 8:30 Eastern. There are tons of knives available on eBay but Caveat Emptor, do your Homework first.Buy what you like, it is a hobby not investing, if you want investments stick with stocks. Buy the best condition you can afford and you will keep it forever, buy lower and you may or may not be able to upgrade at some point. Both work for me as I buy and sell.Last but not least read this. http://www.usmilitaryknives.com/faq.htm It is not meant to be nice, it is down right rude in some spots but it answers a lot of questions.Above all... have fun!
What Do I Have and What Is It Worth?
This is a big one. I get more questions on this one then all others combined. First off, I only study US Military Knives, Bayonets and Machetes. I don't do wedding cake knives, cheese knives, melon testers etc. If your knife has a foreign language marking on it... it isn't a US Military Knife regardless of what Uncle Bob told you. Now that we have assured ourselves it is a US Military Knife we can proceed.
1.) Go to www.ebay.com and search the completed auction listings. Compare what you have against the examples sold. Find at least 5 knives that look like yours and e-mail me the links. Then I will tell you what you have. Get the point... do some homework first.
2.) After that initial e-mail I will tell you what it is worth according to the 5 most recent sales. Are you starting to figure it out now? This information is at your finger tips, just spend some time looking. Need instant gratification, proceed.
3.) Purchase a current edition of the US Military Knives, Bayonets and Machetes Price Guide. How about that, a price guide on just what you are asking about and only $9.95 for it.
Click here for the latest 5th edition
4.) If all the above fails there is a $25.00 charge for me to put together a portfolio for you from past articles and books that have information on your knife, bayonet or machete. Include your mailing address and we will ship the information to you. We accept paypal and money orders for the service provided. If you do not wish to do your own homework and wish for me to do it for you the $25.00 charge applies. I will need 5 detailed photos that are in focus. The photos MUST be less the 100kb each in size. Over this limit and I will delete them and not respond to you. Do not try to describe the knife to me, I will delete your description, I need a photo or scan. I will acknowledge receipt of the photos and or links and tell you up front if I can help you. If I can, it is now that you pay for the help, if I can't the transaction is over.
5.) I enjoy helping those who help themselves. If you want it done for you, pay me. If you didn't hear back from me it is because you did not follow one of the above items. If you aren't willing to play by the rules please excuse me if I don't either.
Is It Real or Is It Memorex??
I have been seriously collecting and studying knives for over 25 years, 15 years before that it was just accumulating them. So in 40 years of playing with knives I have picked up some knowledge along the way. It was probably from the hundreds of hours spent in libraries, or hundreds of hours in archives, maybe the hundreds of hours in museums, can't really say for sure. Did I mention traveling from one side of the country to the other actually looking at knives? Thousands of miles traveled by plane, train and automobile in search of knives and information on knives. So you want to know what you have. You can do the research, read what has been written, you can study actual knives, or you can send it to me along with $25.00 and enough postage to get it back to you insured and I will tell you what it is and if it is the real thing.
PO Box 5866
Deptford, NJ 08096
Dumb Ass Questions
Folks, I need to tell you I do not spend a lot of time on line so the time I do spend is precious to me. I receive a tremendous volume of e-mail due to this web page, it is a given that so many pages get hits and people have questions and or comments, it is to be expected. I do this for fun, when it ceases to be fun I stop doing it for a time and relax. I always try to be polite and helpful to fellow collectors who show a genuine interest in collecting knives or exploring history, we are a small group but there are others out there like us. New collectors coming on board can be trying at times but thinking back we all were, I asked some dumb ass questions myself and at times still do. When the mouth (in this case the fingers) engage before the brain these things happen. Still with that said I just don't have the time, patience or even the sheer will to respond to some of the really stupid questions received. Case in point:
Hey I have a knife the handle is black and it is shiny what is it worth you need to reply to this e-mail email@example.com as I want to avoid spam and my return address listed it not correct hurry I need to know this right away
Other then the e-mail address I have received that note or one like it multiple times over the years. I usually just delete it. Lack of a proper salutation gets under my skin, a simple Hello, Dear, or even Mr. Trzaska is expected from someone writing to request a favor in my humble opinion. Unsigned e-mail just irks me, I usually do not respond if there is not a real name there at the end. This guys wants to avoid spam but doesn't mind sending it when it is in his favor. Typically questions like this are from auction sellers who have not a care in the world about the object in question, they just want to sell it and get the best price. In days past I would answer every e-mail I received as I thought it just bad manners not to respond, with the type of people now on line I do not consider it bad manners anymore to just hit the delete key on examples like posted above. So, if you do not hear back from me and the e-mail you sent looks anything remotely like the above, now you know why. If you received an e-mail back with just this link, now you know why, if you were thinking of writing to me...
US Military Knives, Bayonets and Machetes only need apply.
Response To My Critics
Since I set up this website in 1999 it has been read by tens of thousands of people all over the world. Many hundreds of readers have publicly commented on the pages, via Internet discussion forums, blogs, e-mails, snail mail, auction sites etc. The vast majority of these comments have been supportive of my work and views. This positive feedback has been helpful in persuading me to carry on when I may have been wavering myself. But... I must say a small number of people have been critical, either of specific comments I made or of sections of the site. Well, since I strongly believe in free speech, I can hardly complain about this, it is the right of every human being regardless of where they live to speak their mind. I would however ask that critics take a minute to read this page before expressing their critical comments in public or in private.
Firstly, I positively welcome constructive criticism. I am very grateful to the people who point out were I have erred, I do not learn if mistakes are not pointed out to me. You do me a great disservice by not telling me of an error of fact, we both lose. Many of you who have written to point out minor errors, major faux paus and opportunities for improvement are thanked mightily and encouraged to continue. This kind of multi proof-reading helps me to improve the site so it can be a responsible as well as scholarly resource where one can depend on the content - so if you think you've found a technical error, a broken link or even poor English, don't just post your comment on a Forum where I may never see it, please email me - I will always consider your criticisms carefully. But before you do, please make sure your criticism isn't already addressed somewhere on this site.
If you disagree with my views on a particular topic make sure you have read the topic in full, go back and re-read it again. Let it sink in. Is it a fact in dispute or an opinion? A fact you dispute, do your homework first and by all means e-mail me. An opinion in dispute, sell me on why you are correct and I have erred. You are entitled to your opinion but in the same vein... so am I. And as this is my site... my opinion counts unless you can convince me otherwise. You can be skeptical without being an ass about it. Just explain your point, we can discuss it. If you think I have no right to express my views at all, this site should be all fact, well you write your own page and do it your way. I only use an opinion in the context of a cutlery topic when I do not have a solid fact. It is a theory, a scientific wild ass guess, and educated guess, call it what you may but until it is proven it is only my opinion. If I am wrong, convince me why.
But far and away the most common criticism goes along these lines: My father brought this knife home from the war and it has not been out of the families possession since 1945. This may be true but I need proof. Often I point out that the family heirloom was made in 1976 and get drug across the coals because of it. I don't do it to be belligerent, I do it to point out the truth.
My basic reasoning is explained here, but since this view is expressed so often, here's a summary:
I don't care what uncle Joey told you about the knife he owns. Can you tell me what you had for dinner on the third Tuesday in 1998? Why is uncle Joey's memory of 1943 so crystal clear. Prove it first before you state it as fact. If you prove it I will admit I am wrong, in the next update to the world, and what we will end up with is a much better website and an open discussion in which we have found a truth. If you can not change my mind I will stand on what I have written until proven otherwise.
If you're still not satisfied, please email me with your protest and I will do my best to answer it. And if after all that, you still think I'm wrong, then of course feel free to say so on discussion forums etc, though I would appreciate you sending me a link to the discussion so I could take part in the debate.
The Morals On This Site And Elsewhere
I will not comment in public on an ongoing auction. I have in the past but will refuse to do so in the future. I always end up in the middle regardless of the circumstances. I don't want to seem too righteous here but it brings up too many moral implications. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances in the collector community and will be glad to help anyone in search of the facts but most sellers and many of the buyers don't want to be bothered with facts. They are just greedy money changers and are only interested in a quick buck. There is nothing wrong with buying and selling any collectible items, have fun doing it.
I will not be a part of the fakers and scammers out there learning how to do it better. Many folks send e-mails to the thieves pointing out where the knife is a fake and telling them what they did wrong, sending clear photos of what a correct piece looks like and thus teaching them to scam the next time even better in the thought of being helpful. I want no part of it.
If a buyer purchases a fake and did not do the homework first, too bad, I have no sympathy for you. Don't get me wrong, the internet auction has done wonders for this hobby but with big money changing hands it also brings out the worst human element as well. They prey on the uneducated, the only one that can help you in this situation is you. Ask questions of the seller before you buy, not me after you buy. Ask for better photos if you need them, ask for a 7 day inspection period if you need one, if you don't feel comfortable then don't bid. You bid on the piece, you won the auction and now some do-good crusader tells you something is wrong with it in some way, deal with it, no one forced you to bid.
When a virtuous soul tries to contact a seller or buyer to inform them of a fault in the knife, finish it. To all you crusaders out there that point out the fault and send them here as a reference, do me a favor, leave me out of it. You are placing me in the middle of a shit storm you stirred up.
The middle man is the one who always loses in this game, I am out of it. I will gladly tell you what you have if I am holding it in my hand. I will price it for you as well, if I am holding it in my hand. I will sell you a price guide so you can follow along in the ups and downs of the market.
I post a lot of information in this site, all aimed towards educating us all on the history of US Military Cutlery. The information is here, you have to read it and study it. You have to purchase other books on the subject, you have to handle as many knives, bayonets, machetes, swords, etc. as possible. Go to a gun or knife show and spend a full day there. Don't be in a hurry to get in, buy something and rush out. Enjoy the experience of the hobby. If your in a hurry to just make a profit... buy stocks. In most cases the information you seek for an informed purchase is here.
After the auction is over, it is then fair game to comment on in public.
I have posted many fake and fantasy knives on this site for comparison purposes, check them out first. I want to make people aware of what is going on out there. It kills me to see so many folks getting suckered into some of these outrageous claims. Many have write-ups that Madison Ave would be proud of. While others are plainly and even sparsely worded yet avoid all the specific terms. Good condition does not mean original condition, it only means it is in good condition. Avoid "I believe or I think or I was told" descriptions as being factual. Read between the lines and don't ever buy the story, stick to the facts.
Last but not least, if you think you got a really great deal on a piece, check it out again and again. It is getting harder and harder to find a sleeper out there, just from the sheer volume of people cruising the auction sites even those mis-identified are eventually found and sell correctly. Nothing is free.
So I ask myself...
Sometimes when dealing with yet another threat of legal action I have to ask myself is it all worth it, why do I get involved in this stuff. It is supposed to be fun right?
And we're not talking about a trivial amount of money here. Collectors around the world have effectively had hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen from them by the false claims or fancy write ups. This "theft" is on going.
I would like to help but I am not a crusader. In private we can discuss such issues but not in public. My time is limited, I have to work a real job too so getting caught up in some silly game about what is real and what is not just doesn't fly with me anymore.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing". Edmund Burke
Cost Of This Site
The rumors were flying when the site went down over the summer of 2006. In part it was my fault, I did not stick around to put it to rest on any of the discussion boards. Summer was approaching and I just wanted to relax. I had a slight warning about it but not much. The hosting company went out of business and shut down their servers. Nothing sinister about the site disappearing. I am NOT getting out of collecting and I was not in an accident. Like the saying goes, the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. The folks I did have hosting were very inexpensive and allowed me all the space and bandwidth I ever wanted without any additional cost. That my friends has all gone away. I am resisting using pop up ads or in fact any ads at all. This site could sell some ads with the large amount of traffic we get but I don't like them so will stay away as long as I can. We will never sell a mailing list or a hit list from who visits. I don't believe in that and would never make it available for sale.
If you want to help, talk about the site on the discussion boards and leave links to us here. Help to improve the traffic flow when and where you can. With newer folks visiting we can hope to build new collectors and aid researchers. The increased readership is not the end in itself, the hope is they will buy a book or a government document copy from us. The ONLY reason I sell them is to make it easy for others to find information they want easily and raise money for the continuation and improvement of the site. Many of you, the faithful readers have come here for years and it has all been free, I intend to keep it that way as long as possible. Help out by spreading the news and above all, contribute to the content, that will help to draw the crowds.
These pages give general background, historical, technical and government archived information about various cutlery products. Many of these original companies do not exist any longer but the names they used may still be trademarks. Many companies are currently in business and still producing the items being discussed which may be patented and trademarked. Product names are given purely to aid understanding of the item in question and - except where explicitly stated - no comment should be construed as relating directly to a particular individual product.
Nonetheless, if a particular company feels that their product is being unfairly represented on these pages I would urge them to contact me by email to discuss a mutually acceptable change to the wording, rather than taking costly legal action as a first step. However, I am unwilling to simply remove a reference to an item without some evidence of what is wrong with my comments. I simply want to know what I said wrong.
Anyone who feels that their copyright or trademark has been infringed by unauthorized reproduction of data or images, please contact me so I can either attribute ownership, or if this is not acceptable, remove the data or image in question. However, I believe that these pages comply with the Fair Use Clause of the Copyright Act and so are quite legal.
These pages are provided as a public service and I obtain absolute minimal financial benefit from them, in fact it costs me to run this site.
All the best
Frank Trzaska firstname.lastname@example.org